I finally found the right secondary shoe for my Camino – the Umara Z-Trail Ultralight Sport Sandal by XeroShoes. Below are the reasons and my initial review.
For those packing ultra light for the Camino, two pairs of shoes are all you need. The secondary shoes you bring on the Camino are almost as important as your hiking shoes. They are what you switch to when you are done walking for the day and to let your feet breathe. They can be worn around town and for shopping runs once you get settled into the albergue or hotel. You might wear them in the shower or for cooling off in creeks or lakes. They’ll be a welcome source of comfort.
Everyone has their own preference on what secondary Camino shoe works for them. There are a ton of options out there, so it’s best to look around and try different styles. I’ve heard people swear by covered-toe Keens or Merrill sandals. Some rave about Crocs, and some like plain and simple flip-flops. Of course, there are many options within these types of shoes.
I looked at my existing shoes first and the options were flip-flops, Tevas, or Croc clogs.
I seriously considered and tested these on dog walks in my neighborhood. The flips wouldn’t have enough support for longer walks. The Tevas have more support but the straps are thick, which could take a while to dry out. The Crocs are light, but they rubbed on my toes, which would cause blisters if used for longer walks.
I wanted something lightweight yet with good support and rugged soles. I have high arches and wide feet. I also have unusual bones that protrude below my ankles, making it appear like I have double ankles. Lovely! Not. Some shoes rub too much on this bone zone so I have to be careful what I wear. I remember getting the worst blisters there when I wore ski boots.
I heard many people rave about Chacos for the arch support, so I bought a pair from REI outlet. There are many styles of Chacos, but I didn’t feel like paying $100 + on my secondary shoe.
I couldn’t believe how hard the soles were! It’s true, they have a significant raised arch, which might be good for people with high arches. I feel like I would get bruises where that arch bump is because the soles are so hard. I also don’t like the heavy clonk and snap sounds they made as I walked, which could be annoying when I need to use the restroom in the middle of the night.
These Chacos are heavy! They weigh 16.68 ounces (473 grams), just over one pound. Every ounce counts when you’re carrying all your belongings on your back and hiking 10-12 miles a day (my plan in 2 weeks.)
I saw an ad on Facebook in March about these new Xero Z-Trail shoes. I decided to go for it and bought a pair in the pretty red pepper color.